Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

Newport Bay Conservancy

Protecting & Preserving Upper Newport Bay

Updated in partnership with OC Nonprofit Central

aka Newport Bay Conservancy



 Newport Bay Conservancy (NBC) bears a singular mission to protect and preserve the Upper Newport Bay and its watershed through education, restoration, research and advocacy. For 50 years NBC has relied on the steady effort and dedication of members and volunteers without whom none of our aspirations and accomplishments, indeed our entire vision for the well-being and sustainability of the Bay, would be possible. NBC continues to be the beneficiary of a strong tradition of volunteerism and a consistent history of community support.

Ruling Year


Operations Director

Heather Cieslak MPA

Main Address

PO BOX 10804



Back Bay, Upper Newport Bay, UNB, UNB Ecological Reserve, Nature Preserve





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Secondary/High School (B25)

Biological, Life Science Research includes Marine Biology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Biotechnology, etc.) (U50)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

The Newport Bay Conservancy (NBC) is the single organization focused exclusively on the conservation and restoration of Upper Newport Bay – one of the most precious natural resources in Southern California. Orange County is recognized as a globally important hotspot of biodiversity. The Bay, as home to several of the region’s most productive ecosystems, contributes to that diversity. Our vision is that we will inspire the communities of our central Orange County watershed to work in harmony to enhance the natural beauty and ecological value of Upper Newport Bay and provide for the continued public enjoyment of this priceless resource. Financial, practical, technical and influential support is critical as we strive to do what is best for the Bay, the watershed, the animals and the people. Please help us achieve our vision.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Educational Programs

Restoration Programs

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

EDUCATION: Enhance people's knowledge and appreciation of the Bay and increase their awareness of the role they play in protecting the environment. RESTORATION: Improve the habitat of the Upper Newport Bay, everything from water quality, fisheries (as the Bay is a nursery for many fish), habitat enhancement as it may be affected by climate change. RESEARCH: Support science-based adaptive management for over a square mile of protected tidelands and uplands in the heart of Newport Beach. ADVOCACY: Help to protect the balance of people and nature.

EDUCATION: Conduct environmental education programs and nature tours for school and college groups and for the general public. RESTORATION: Organize community-based native habitat restoration and other service activities that involve the public and local businesses in the stewardship of the Bay. We also tackle large-scale restoration projects. RESEARCH: Assisting, performing and sponsoring habitat and wildlife monitoring and research, implementing conservation projects, and providing information management services. ADVOCACY: Facilitate integrated, sustainable management of the 154 square mile area of central Orange County that drains to the ocean via the Bay.

Newport Bay Conservancy (NBC) is lead by a 13-member Board elected by our membership, a group of volunteers who contribute a minimum number of hours of service to the Bay each year. The Board is made up of a mixture of executives, scientists, volunteer Naturalists, and community leaders all who develop our annual priorities and structure activities to enhance our programs, raise funds, raise awareness of our mission or help conduct the financial or administrative business of the organization. NBC's strategic vision is carried out by staff leaders in operations, education, and restoration which are supported by staff assistant coordinators who all work together lead programming and, recruit, train and motivate volunteers. NBC also enlists the help of over 150 Volunteer Naturalists (who have taken a 12-week program to deeply understand the ecology of the Bay) and 75 Volunteer Associates (who have participated in orientation, CPR/First Aid and interpretive training) that provide leadership or assistance in a variety of programming supporting NBC lead programs or landowner/partner programs. These volunteers contribute over 11,000 hours of service annually, reaching over 50,000 people.

EDUCATION: Number students and public participating in programming. RESTORATION: Number of native plants planted, pounds of invasive plants removed, and pounds of trash removed from the Bay. RESEARCH: Catalog of research being done at the Bay. ADVOCACY: Number of people in our network (from social media, donors, and partners).

In 1967, the Friends of Newport Bay, led by residents Frank and Frances Robinson, was founded by a group of local, concerned citizens to prevent the Bay from becoming a marina and gated community, to call attention to the ecological importance of the Bay, and to enlist broad support to preserve the Bay in its natural state. In 1975, following years of public advocacy, the Upper Newport Bay was declared an ecological reserve under the supervision of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. Soon after, the County of Orange declared the northwest bluffs a preserve. Today, the Back Bay and surrounding uplands are preserved for all to enjoy. The Newport Bay Conservancy is dedicated to saving this treasure in perpetuity. The Newport Bay Conservancy has been the leading non-profit organization providing educational programs and public participation projects at the Back Bay for over 50 years. The Conservancy connects thousands of people to the Bay and the importance of environments like these every year through hundreds of activities. In the past year (from October 2017 to September 2018) we carried out the following programs: • Helped to educate 33,873 members of the public about the ecological importance of the Bay by providing volunteer support/staffing at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center every day except Mondays. • Hosted field trips teaching pre-K through 6th grade (1,256) and high school/college (1,014) students throughout the school year, sponsoring some of the transportation costs associated with getting the schools to/from the Bay. • Hosted free public walking tours and guided kayak tours to inspire 1,536 people. • Hosted a dozen special events throughout the year that connected another 2,460 people to the Bay. • Besides conducting weekly restoration events with volunteers with the ASL removal or Bayview restoration projects, we conducted 19 restoration events with the public, engaging 1,414 one time volunteers in order to help remove invasive species of plants and plant native plants to enhance the habitat of the Bay. • Hosted one symposium educating 89 people about the importance of wetlands spaces like the Bay. • Hosted trash pickup days in the Bay to remove excess of 10,000 pounds of trash from the wetland both from kayaks and land-based cleanups. • Participated in ten outreach events throughout the year, connecting with another 6,139 people. Altogether, over 48,000 people were educated and inspired to protect and preserve open spaces like the Upper Newport Bay through 601 events.

External Reviews



Newport Bay Conservancy

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable